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Paperback bestseller Saul (Comes the Blind Fury, Suffer the Children) breaks into hardcover with his sixth horror venture--a milder, more modest effort than his earlier shockers. The hook is a strong one: what has been causing a rash of deaths among babies and youngsters in Eastbury, Mass.? The doctors attribute it to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but Sally Montgomery isn't buying SIDS in the case of her ""perfectly healthy"" six-month-old Julie--as she makes clear to old Dr. Arthur Wiseman and young Dr. Mark Malone. She refuses to join with the passivity of other SIDS parents. And her heavy research (she's a computer analyst) turns up the startling news that all of the town's affected children were part of a project called CHILD which has been secretly keeping tabs on the children (also including Sally's wild young son Jason) since their birth. How could these children be picked ""at random"" at birth and yet universally enjoy absolutely perfect health up until their sudden deaths? And why has Lucy Corliss' son Randy (another CHILD child) been kidnapped? Well, Sally discovers that the project is being funded by PharMax, a drug company, though PharMax denies any knowledge of a weird salve--a supposed contraceptive administered by Dr. Wiseman to all the mothers of CHILD kids before they got pregnant! So could it be that this salve stimulated in fetuses ""a normally functionless genetic combination called an intron"" which produced children with incredible powers of regeneration, whose bodies fought wounds, burns, poisons, and viruses. . . till the salve backfired!? So it seems. And eventually the kidnapped Randy escapes the CHILD academy, survives a car bomb, and becomes a super-team with Jason to expose the secret backers of the project. Bio-fantasy flapdoodle, with a fritter of a climax--but Saul's fans will gobble it up and call for more.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Bantam